Growing up in the State of West Virginia has instilled in me a love of the great outdoors. Whether it’s hunting, fishing, hiking or just driving through our state, West Virginia has some of the best places in the country to enjoy nature and all its beauty. While I have always appreciated the beauty of the state, it wasn’t until the last few years that I have had a renewed, grander appreciation for the state that I grew up in. So, what gave me this renewed appreciation for the state that I already love? Seeing it from a different perspective, the view from the seat of my kayak, bass fishing West Virginia!
West Virginia has done a great job of offering access to see many spectacular locations such as state parks, trails, or other tourist attractions. In order to get a close-up view of some of the most breathtaking locations, there is no better way than slowing down and paddling through it in a kayak.
Over the years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel the state and see many locations while kayaking. Whether it be fishing in tournaments or camping and fishing with friends and family, I have had a front row seat to see the beauty of God’s awesome creation. While there are far too many to write about in one article, I want to share just a few of my “must see” locations.
Bass Fishing West Virginia: Sandstone Falls
The first place and definitely one of the most breathtaking is Sandstone Falls on the New River in Summers County, WV. The first time I ever visited the falls was by walking out the Sandstone Visitor Center catwalk and viewing the falls from the various observation decks.
Now, this is a great way to view and take in the beauty of the falls, but it wasn’t until a few years later when I put my kayak in and paddled up to the base of the falls that I truly appreciated the power and beauty of this location.
Standing at the pool directly below the falls where you can feel the sheer power and majesty is truly a special place that I will always cherish. It takes some work to get there, but it truly is worth the effort!
Bass Fishing West Virginia: South Branch, Potomac River
Another spot that holds a special place in my heart is the South Branch of the Potomac River near Romney, WV. This is a place that has been a part of me since before I could walk. I have baby pictures of me on the banks of that river with my parents and grandparents and now I have pictures of me with my wife and children at the same places. This truly is one of my favorite places on earth, and I make it a point to spend time there every year with my family and friends.
One of my favorite trips to take on this river is through a section called the “Trough.” This is roughly a six-mile section of the river that carves through the Allegheny Mountains and is only accessible by either railroad or river. This section has some of the most beautiful scenery with deep pools, small rapids, numerous Bald Eagle sightings, and some great smallmouth bass fishing. There is truly no better way to fully appreciate this place than floating through it in a kayak.
Bass Fishing West Virginia: Greenbrier River
The third spot on my “must see” list is the Greenbrier River. The Greenbrier with its clear water, fun rapids, deep pools, incredible scenery, and great bass fishing is the kind of place that will leave you wanting more. This river was where my addiction to kayak fishing was born. I spent many years floating this river in a canoe, but once I took my first trip down in a kayak, I was hooked!
This river truly has it all, great fishing, rapids, deep pools, beautiful scenery, and numerous public access sites to suit any paddlers style.
The river starts in the town of Durbin, WV and travels over 170-miles to empty into the New River in beautiful Hinton, WV. While the river is great fishing year round, Spring and early Summer provide the best water levels to enjoy this Mountain State treasure.
Bass Fishing West Virginia: Tygart Lake
The number four spot on the list takes us to the town of Grafton WV. The Tygart Lake and the river which flows above and below the dam are one of the most overlooked spots in the state to fish. Tygart lake holds a healthy population of smallmouth bass as well as Largemouth, walleye, and Musky. Tygart is a Corps of Engineers flood control lake, so the lake levels vary greatly throughout the year. Due to this fact, most of the structure on this lake is rock. Aside from the many floating boat docks located throughout the lake, most of the quality fishing comes from scanning the lake with your electronics and locating deep drop-offs with rock structure which often holds numerous fish.
Head below the Dam and the fishing in the Tygart river below the spillway is truly something special. The amount of 12 to 13-inch smallmouth is amazing in this area of the river. Spend a day floating down the river when conditions are right and you will catch a lot of nice smallmouth. One of the other notable aspects of this part of the river is the high population of Musky. Most trips are awarded an exciting encounter with one of these river monsters.
Bass Fishing West Virginia: Stonewall Jackson Lake
The final spot on my “must go” list is the Stonewall Jackson Lake. This lake has been famous for the quality bass fishing over the years. While the glory days of multiple 4 to 6-pound bass are rare, there are still a lot of big bass caught every year in this West Virginia destination.
This lake with over 2,600 surface acres of water features an amazing amount of quality habitat to grow big bass.
Flooded timber is one of the most abundant targets for anglers on this lake. Locating the old river bed, creek channels, and roadbeds can pay off big while fishing this lake. Many no wake zones exist, which makes it a great place for the kayak angler as well as the bass boat crowd. Spend a few days exploring the waters of Stonewall Jackson and you will have a good chance at a true trophy bass.
These are just a few of the great places in West Virginia that are best viewed from the water. Next time you are looking for a place to get away and do some kayaking, head to West Virginia and see for yourself why we say, “Almost Heaven – West Virginia”.
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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